Colonel & Frances Hildick-Smith

Frances at Redmarley Orchards June 2015
Frances at Redmarley Orchards June 2015

Frances came to Great Witley village in 1967 with her husband Colonel Hildick-Smith after he left the army. Together they bought Redmarley Orchard on the south facing slopes of Abberley Hill. Frances already had a local connection – her sister was married to Geoff Ballard who farmed in Abberley.

Frances recorded her memories in the company of Peter van Tongeren who initially worked for Frances & the Colonel, then later bought part of the farm to establish Mill Orchards with his wife Julia. They obviously share many memories and you will hear both of them in the three recordings below.

Frances’s family also kindly donated an historic booklet listing all the Rectors of Witley from 1277 to 1910.

HildickSmith_Frances_20140423_1_2 (12 mins 40 secs)

Frances talks about coming to the village and life on the farm and in the village.


HildickSmith_Frances_20140423_2_2 (6 mins 31 secs)

Start Topic Period
00.00 Red Marley Hill Climb 1970s onward
02.06 Roman vines and history of fruit growing on the Abberley hill Roman – 1980s
03.43 Why damson trees are found in so many hedges – they were grown for dye making Pre 1970s
05.07 How the wood above the fruit farm on Abberley Hill got established 1970s
05.42 Children playing up on the hill by the pine tree clump 1970 – 2014

HildickSmith_Frances_20140423_3_2 (10 mins 9 secs)

Start Topic Period
00.00 Water supply off the Abberley Hill 1970s
02.00 History of the house at Red Marley Fruit Farm 1947 onwards
04.03 Dick Smith, known as ‘Dick the Gypsy’ 1990s
05.20 The Rectory at Great Witley 1970s onwards
06.40 The Goodmans at Walsgrove Farm 1960s onwards
08.06 Local Police meeting King Edward VII off the train Approx 1900
09.03 The Dallows & the Tylers at Great Witley 1970s onwards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *